ABS-CBN Deserves a Franchise

By Seneca Moraleda-Puguan

Photo by Jire Carreon/Rappler

I am a solid Kapuso, I must admit. I grew up watching GMA-7 shows. It was the only channel we could watch in the house where I used to live in Baguio City. I remembered watching every episode of ‘I-Witness’ even if the airing was already very late and my whole family was asleep. I really enjoyed watching documentaries that I was inspired to take Broadcast Communication in University of the Philippines Diliman and become like Kara David, one of GMA-7’s finest broadcast journalists. Working in GMA-7 was also a dream of mine. It was fulfilled when I landed a job in the network as a researcher right after graduation. It was there where I realized how difficult it was to gather information every single day just to tell the Filipino people what is happening around them. As much as I enjoyed being a researcher, there were many moments I cried and endured sleepless nights. It made me appreciate the people working in television stations knowing that their work will all be worth it when they bring joy, the latest news and updates to the people watching the shows they produce day in and day out. 

I am grateful that my favorite network still stands strong today. But my heart bleeds for their rival network, the television station many of the people I know dearly love—ABS-CBN Channel 2, Kapamilya. My husband grew up watching ABS-CBN because they don’t have GMA’s signal at home in Nueva Vizcaya. My mother-in-law is a Kapamilya. My aunt-in-law is a Kapamilya. My sister in Pangasinan is a Kapamilya. My roommate in college is a Kapamilya. Many of my batchmates in college are Kapamilya and working in ABS-CBN who they are passionate about their work. 

On July 10, the Philippine Congress denied the franchise of ABS-CBN forcing the station to shut down. It was heartbreaking to see thousands of employees lose their jobs in the middle of a pandemic, a time where countless Filipinos are already struggling to survive. It was saddening to read the posts of many of my friends working in the network. My thoughts go out to the millions of Filipinos who will not be able to watch their favorite programs anymore. My heart shattered upon hearing that my mother-in-law cried because she couldn’t watch and hear the latest broadcast from her favorite news show, TV Patrol. My heart broke for the many Kapamilya around the world, especially those with no access to Internet and only relying on free TV for entertainment and information. 

My husband and I will remember July 10, 2020 as the day we both cried together while we were praying before retiring for the day. Our hearts were very heavy, not just because many family and friends have their hearts shattered, but because devastating news keep bombarding us at all sides. The pandemic has already ravaged souls and dampened the spirits of the Filipino people, the decision to shut down the country’s biggest network added to the pain and frustration that everyone is feeling. No more Vice Ganda to make everyone laugh to forget the worries of each day. No more ASAP on Sundays to serenade souls that are downcast. No more Probinsyano to make people feel assured that they could live in a world where justice still prevails. 

I will not try to understand and discuss why Congress made such a decision. All I know is that their reasons may be valid, but their intentions are unclear, the motives are rather malicious, and the timing is imperfect. I’m still hopeful ABS-CBN will be given another chance to fight for their franchise. I believe it’s not just their fight. It’s a fight of every Kapamilya. It’s a fight of the Filipino people for their right to information and freedom of expression. 

As I wait for the day the network will sign on once again; when I will get to see my friends get to enjoy doing their craft in entertaining and delivering news to the Filipino people; and see my mother-in-law hear the news from her favorite news anchors, I will continue to pray for our nation and its leaders. I will pray for righteousness to reign, for selfish ambitions to be silenced and for the welfare of the Filipino people to be prioritized. I will continue to hope because hope does not disappoint. 

I am a Kapuso. I will always be. But a Kapuso loves his and her Kapamilya. As Chloe Arun of the Letterer, a rising artist in the Philippines beautifully said, “Lumalaban ng dasal. Para sa Bayan.” Lalaban tayo, Kapamilya!

Opinions, advice, or statements contained in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Hawaii Filipino Chronicle editorial board and staff.

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